Apple Maps ‘Detailed City Experience’ Now Available in Seven Cities

Apple Maps Detailed City Experience White House Dodgers Stadium Statue of Liberty Credit: Jesse Hollington
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Apple is slowly but steadily rolling out its gorgeous new 3D city experiences in Apple Maps to even more places, as Philadelphia joins the list this week, bringing the total to seven U.S. cities to close out 2021, with even more expected in the new year.

This latest update comes just in time for CarPlay users to begin enjoying it, too, as the more detailed maps and navigation directions only came to the dashboard in last week’s iOS 15.2 update.

Apple Maps is already indisputably the most elegantly designed of all the major mapping applications, but these latest enhancements just take it to a whole new level. Users in supported cities will see unprecedented detail for neighbourhoods, commercial districts, and buildings, right down to full three-dimensional representations of major landmarks that will include appropriate shading and even signage and nighttime lighting.

These enhancements extend beyond buildings and landmarks, however. Apple also notes that you’ll be able to see elevation details across an entire city, along with new road labels and a significantly improved navigation experience that will render things like turn lanes, medians, and bus, taxi, and cycling lanes more clearly to help navigate busy intersections. Overlapping complex interchanges will also be rendered in a road-level 3D view to help you see what’s coming up much more clearly.

Apple’s iOS 15 Maps Expansion

When Apple released iOS 15 in September, the new “Detailed City Experience,” as Apple calls it, was only available in Los Angeles, New York, London, and San Francisco. However, it promised San Diego, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia would come by the end of 2021.

Apple Maps expanded to encompass those first two cities last month, and now with this week’s addition of Philadelphia, it appears to have completed its 2021 expansion. Augmented Reality Walking Directions are also now available in the same seven cities, suggesting that these are directly tied to the Detailed City Experiences.

In early 2022, Apple may be planning to look a bit further north before it continues with additional U.S. cities. In September, it only specifically listed Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver among the additional cities that will be coming next year.

We’ve already seen some evidence that Apple is laying the groundwork for this elsewhere. While not all the details have been fleshed out, many key Canadian landmarks are now showing more detailed shapes that seem to be missing only the colouring and lighting to complete the effect.

If Apple were to look to Canada for its next expansion, this wouldn’t be unprecedented, either. Last December, Apple expanded its Look Around feature to cover 99% of the Canadian population, in what was effectively the biggest single expansion of Apple Maps in the service’s history.

In fact, at the time, Look Around was available in about a dozen U.S. cities, covering 16% of the U.S. population. In Canada, however, Apple turned the entire country into one huge, continuous Look Around area, making the feature available on some of the remotest stretches of highways in Northern Ontario.

Apple has since expanded Look Around in much the same way in several other countries, including Australia, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Elsewhere, however, it remains limited to only specific cities — 19 in the U.S., 10 in Japan, and three in the U.K.

Of course, that’s only one of a dozen different features in Apple Maps, and Apple has yet to roll out some of its Maps features from iOS 14 more widely, such as cycling directions and EV routing.

Apple quietly added cycling directions for Toronto, Vancouver, and Barcelona over the summer, while also making them available through the entire state of California. Elsewhere, however, cycling directions are available in five U.S. cities — Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, and Seattle — plus London, U.K.

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